Amazon Dispute Timeliness
For any supplier, it's easy to get the many timelines and calendars crossed and confused. In this increasingly time-driven industry, some Amazon suppliers have found that dispute delay/timeliness on shortages is a significant factor in dispute success.
Among major retailers, Amazon has a relatively short window (around 30 days) for optimally disputing shortages. Walmart, for example, allows suppliers to dispute deductions up to 2 years back from invoice date. This fact doesn't necessarily make it easier or harder to win disputes with Amazon, but it does have a large impact on the Amazon suppliers.
Amazon shortages in the 30-40 day window after the invoice due date are in a "maturing stage," which means that there is still a chance of winning disputes. Shortages 40 days post-due date are mature but not technically "expired." It may be advisable to try to dispute invoices 40 days past due date for reasons related to settlement disputing, but the success rate of those disputes is very low, by some estimates, 0-5%. After a year, it becomes impossible for deductions to be fought.
Amazon suppliers on settlement disputing should still go back and dispute earlier shortages. This process will give suppliers the dispute IDs for each deduction that will be needed for a settlement case.
What is Timeliness at Amazon?
It is best to understand dispute timeliness at Amazon in terms of the Invoice Age: the time between invoice due date and dispute date. Keeping the timeline fixed between the due date of the invoice and the date of the dispute can help to keep all parties on the same page with regard to timeliness.
SupplyPike User Findings
At SupplyPike, we analyzed some of the data of our users who are Amazon suppliers. What we found was that the vast majority (around 99%) of approved and partially approved disputes were from deductions on invoices disputed within 40 days of the invoice's due date. Suppliers that dispute earlier tend to, in most but not all cases, have better win rates. Timeliness isn't the only ingredient in dispute success, but it is a major factor.
Because Amazon has such a quick turnaround on dispute timeliness, it can be hard to find invoices on Vendor Central that go back farther than 30 days; older invoices do not disappear, it just becomes somewhat harder for suppliers to find them. Under "Invoices," on the "Available Actions" flag, Shortage Claims and Price Claims older than 30 days disappear. They can still be viewed, however, within the list of all invoices.
Timely and Untimely Disputes
The difference between Timely and Untimely Disputes is that a Timely Dispute is one that is filed within roughly thirty days of the Invoice Due Date. An Untimely Dispute is one filed after that window. A Timely Dispute (see the image below) is much more likely to be successful than an Untimely Dispute:
Some suppliers have found (see the orange portion of the image above) a degree of success in submitting disputes in the 30-39 days after invoice date period. These disputes on "matured" invoices are not as successful as disputes filed within the 30 day timeliness period, but they are still more successful than everything 40+ days out from the invoice date.
An Untimely Dispute (see the image below) is a lot less likely to be successful than a Timely Dispute. Even if the documentation associated with the dispute is valid, Amazon may reject a successful dispute filed 40+ days after invoice due date.
Overall Dispute Win Rate vs. Timely Dispute Win Rate
This 30 day deadline is important, not just for having successful disputes, but for measuring dispute success as well. It is likely that some suppliers' dispute win rates are skewed by this feature of Amazon's dispute process.
Calculating the true success of disputes filed on invoices within the required time period is key to understanding whether or not your business is having success fighting invalid fines. Some suppliers are under the impression that their win rate is much lower than it would actually be if they focused on invoices active in the dispute window. If suppliers keep their disputes within the allotted time window, the difference between the overall dispute win rate and the timely dispute win rate will shrink.
For example, in the image below, Supplier 2 has a much higher Dispute Win Rate largely because their Optimal Disputes make up the vast majority of their overall disputes, so, Supplier 2's Win Rate is much higher. Supplier 1's disputes are not necessarily worse than Supplier 2's disputes; they have merely struggled to focus on Optimal Disputes.
Our Solution: SupplyPike Amazon
SupplyPike Amazon users have, however, found some success with disputing outside the window designated for proper dispute time. SupplyPike Amazon's ability to quickly assimilate the relevant documents for disputes both within and outside of the allotted time frame may result in greater supplier success outside of the rigid 40 day window, improving both Timely and Untimely Disputes.
If you are interested in talking with the SupplyPike team about fighting Amazon deductions, follow this link to schedule a meeting. If you would like to learn more about the fundamental principles of being an Amazon supplier, read our ebook on the subject.
Written by Allie Welsh-Truong
About Allie Welsh-Truong
Allie is the Content Coordinator for SupplyPike. She leverages her CPG background when creating educational content for suppliers.
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